The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: Event
Just this past week Effie Kapsalis, the Archives’ own Head of Web, New Media, & Outreach, won the Smithsonian Secretary’s Innovative Spirit Award at the third annual Secretary’s Awards for Excellence.
Secretary Clough and a pan-Institutional committee recognized Effie for all of her incredible work at the Archives. From spearheading the Archives’ recent involvement with Historypin, a website that allows institutions and individual to geo-tag and pin historic photos on Google maps; to managing the Smithsonian Flickr Commons, Effie is at the center of efforts at the Archives and the broader Smithsonian to get our resources, stories, and collections online.
Her projects have always yielded surprising and wonderful results. Recent efforts at the Archives to crowdsource the identities of people and places on the Flickr Commons led to really meaningful relationships with you, our readers and visitors, as well as:
- multiple identifications of photograph locations,
- wonderful stories about mysteries solved and relatives found in images on the Commons,
- a deeper understanding of historical events (like the famous Scopes Monkey trial) from our audiences' firsthand accounts of these events,
- and even a donation of new photographs to the Archives from someone who appreciated the fact that the Archives was making our collections available to all online.
In addition to these projects, Effie has been involved in multiple pan-Smithsonian web efforts to increase engagement with online visitors and to make our data more open. She has been recognized for her efforts both inside and outside (for example, in a recent New York Times article) of the Smithsonian.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the Archives’ incredible staff, who tease out the narratives behind our collections in their day to day work, and tell these stories both here on The Bigger Picture, and in their daily interactions with the public; and without our director, Anne Van Camp, who supports all of the efforts of the Web and New Media team. Congratulations to everyone at the Archives, and congratulations to you, Effie—we’re so proud of you!
We wanted to remind you, and give you more information about this week’s “Ask the Smithsonian” Facebook Q&A and Archives Fair, held in honor of American Archives Month.
The Smithsonian’s second annual Archives Fair, will be held on Friday, October 14th from 10 am to 5 pm in Washington, DC, at the S. Dillon Ripley Center’s concourse located at 1100 Jefferson Drive SW on the National Mall.
The fair will feature informational displays, the opportunity to speak with staff from more than a dozen Smithsonian archives, and a lecture series about projects and research based on Smithsonian collections, including talks by the Archives’ own Sarah Stauderman, Sonoe Nakasone, Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, and Jennifer Wright on emergency preparedness in archives, using field books as primary sources, and preserving the Smithsonian’s web presence, respectively. The fair will also feature the popular “Ask the Smithsonian” program. Participants can sign up for consultations with Smithsonian experts and receive preservation tips and other advice on how to care for items they have tucked away in the attics, closets and basements of their homes. Smithsonian staff will evaluate one easily transported archival items (or two related items) no larger than a shopping bag. Preregistration is required for the “Ask the Smithsonian” program, and appointments can be made online (tickets are limited, so register soon if you’re interested).
For those who will not be able to attend the Archives Fair, Smithsonian conservation and archives specialists will be available virtually on the Smithsonian Institution’s Facebook page Wednesday, October 12th from 10 am to 5 pm to answer questions the public may have about their own paper and electronic archival items.
More information on all of these events is available on the Smithsonian Archives Month website. We hope that you’ll be able to take advantage of these American Archives Month events at the Smithsonian!
We are so pleased to offer our time and expertise again this year at the “Ask the Smithsonian” event that will occur during the 2nd annual Smithsonian Archives Fair on Friday, October 14, 2011 from 10 am to 5 pm. Smithsonian Institution Archives experts, along with conservators, archivists, and librarians from across the Smithsonian, will offer timed slots for the public to consult with them on how to better care for their own archives-worthy items. This event is free and open to the public, but does require preregistration for the limited number of slots.
Last year, we had such an interesting turnout of people looking to find out more about objects in their personal collections. It seemed to me that people had mostly portraits, scrapbooks, or manuscript memorabilia left to them by elder generations, but I was only at one table and my colleagues reviewed many other items.
One scrapbook album I saw illustrated the brilliant career of a Latin American vaudevillian, and was brought in by his American granddaughter. Another woman brought portrait photographs recording two generations of her family’s military service—her grandfather-in-law's World War I military portrait in a fairly rare oversized photo button format. The other being her uncle’s portrait in uniform during his service in Puerto Rico in World War II, also adhered to rigid metal. Both of these had suffered dramatic tears, likely due to their expansion and contraction and the tensions built up against their rigid metal mounts in their transition from a more temperate environment to colder, drier DC in winter months.
Another pair of visitors brought in a beautifully assembled scrapbook from their family—a mother’s record of her daughter’s life from babyhood onward.
Another interesting object that our colleagues from the National Museum of American History encountered was a set of rare architectural renderings for sites in the Washington, DC region.
We look forward to seeing what you will bring in to the “Ask the Smithsonian” event next week, and as we did last year, we will have interactive displays to assist our visitors in implementing our practical advice, including examples of proper housing materials, how to choose and use these materials, and general advice for the care and preservation of collections.
Won’t you join us this year? For more information, and to register for the “Ask the Smithsonian Event” please see the Smithsonian Archives Month website or the registration below.